Captain Tom charity faces investigation as watchdog probes links to daughter's firm

30 June 2022, 00:09 | Updated: 30 June 2022, 08:12

An investigation into the Captain Tom Foundation has been started by the Charity Commission
An investigation into the Captain Tom Foundation has been started by the Charity Commission. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

A charity set up in memory of Captain Tom is being investigated after concerns about its management and independence from his family.

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The Charity Commission has launched an inquiry over worries about the arrangements between the organisation and a company linked to the veteran’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband Colin.

The watchdog is also concerned about the decision making of the Captain Tom Foundation's trustees and the group's governance.

The charity says it will work closely with the commission.

Sir Tom captivated the country as he did 100 laps around his garden to raise £38m for NHS charities during the first Covid lockdown ahead of his 100th birthday.

That amount of cash is not part of this inquiry.

The foundation named for Captain Tom is being scrutinised
The foundation named for Captain Tom is being scrutinised. Picture: Getty

Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: "The late Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired the nation with his courage, tenacity and concern for others. It is vital that public trust in charity is protected, and that people continue to feel confident in supporting good causes.

"We do not take any decision to open an inquiry lightly but in this case our concerns have mounted. We consider it in the public interest to examine them through a formal investigation, which gives us access to the full range of our protective and enforcement powers."

The foundation was registered in June 2020, after he rose to fame. Its first annual accounts showed it took £240,000 in costs and gave £160,000 to causes.

The Charity Commission said it had concerns that "failure to consider intellectual property and trademark issues" when the foundation was created allowed a private business called Club Nook Limited to trademark variations of the name Captain Tom.

The investigation is looking at a connection with Hannah Ingram-Moore's company
The investigation is looking at a connection with Hannah Ingram-Moore's company. Picture: Getty

The charity did not object to that. The move could have made a "significant profit" for Club Nook, which is run by Ms Ingram-Moore and Mr Ingram-Moore, the commission said.

The inquiry is assessing if the Captain Tom Foundation trustees are responsible for mismanagement or misconduct in the administration of the charity leading to any losses.

They also want to prove if they managed any conflicts of interest sufficiently and complied with what charity law requires of them.

Previous concerns about consultancy fees paid to third parties have been allayed after the commission was “satisfied” they were a reasonable payment, and were adequately managed.

Stephen Jones, chairman of the board of trustees of the Captain Tom Foundation, said: "We will, of course, work closely with the commission in its inquiry relating to intellectual property management.

"I note that the trustees confirmed with the commission during the process of registration that the 'image rights and intellectual property rights of the name were held within a private family trust', and the commission were aware that this was always intended to be the case.

Read more: Watchdog stopped Captain Sir Tom Moore's daughter being given top role at charity

"We welcome that the Charity Commission today reports that it is 'satisfied' in relation to questions that had been raised about the foundation's annual report which was published in February, and has concluded that payments were reasonable and that conflicts of interest were identified and managed.”

Jack Gilbert, who took on the role of chief executive on June 1, added: "My appointment marks the start of an important period of transformation for the Captain Tom Foundation.

"With a revitalised and more focused mission, in coming months we will be announcing an array of charitable activities at both grassroots and national levels that change the way we think, feel and act towards age and ageing, combat ageism, and build meaningful connections between communities and generations.

"Working with the board, I am using the NCVO-backed Trusted Charities standards to ensure that in all respects, including governance and finance, the foundation conforms to best practice. These will be externally validated as part of the process."

A statement from the Ingram-Moore family said: "The Ingram-Moore family has welcomed the press release issued today by the Charity Commission, which has found no issues in the accounts of the Captain Tom Foundation, published in February 2022.

"On behalf of our family, there are two points we would like to make. Club Nook Ltd made its application for various trademarks in April 2020 prior to the formation of the Captain Tom Foundation (May 5 2020).

"Neither Hannah nor Colin Ingram-Moore were trustee directors of the Captain Tom Foundation upon its formation."